Cape Town: Argentine striker Leo Messi believes that his England counterpart Wayne Rooney is among the greatest footballers playing at the moment.
"I think Wayne is a great, great player, not just for what he did this year. For many years now he`s been showing that he`s one of the greatest players of his generation and year by year he`s improving and becoming stronger," The Sun quoted Messi, as saying.
"He`s the complete player. Very good with the ball at his feet, he has huge strength and scores goals. I think he makes his rivals fear him. In the Premier League and in the Champions League with Manchester United and also with England."
"Any defender that comes up against Rooney has a lot of respect for him because of everything he has achieved," he added.
The 22-year-old, who is the FIFA World Player of the Year and favourite to retain the title after another phenomenal season with Barcelona, also hailed the Manchester United star as his biggest rival for the award.
"It could be that whoever of us two wins the competition will become the World Player of the Year. In a tournament of this magnitude any player can gain a lot of points. I think of Fabio Cannavaro who won the World Cup with Italy and then won every individual award," Messi said.
"So I think if one of us wins the World Cup, he will have an even bigger chance," he added.